“The Best Way to Someone’s Heart is Through Their Stomach”
One of the highlights of Peru was the delicious food, fresh ingredients and friendly people. In all my Travel itinerary, I always try to squeeze in a Cooking Class. There’s no better way to dive deep into their culture than to learn of the local ingredients, cooking techniques and spend time with Chefs who are passionate about their trade. We asked a tour guide friend we met if he had any recommendations, and in response, his eyes lit and said there was one that everyone raved about. He made a call to a friend and set up our cooking class for sunday afternoon.
Cooking Class in Cusco
We were picked up at our hotel by Angelo, a 26 year old Peruvian Chef born, raised, trained Chef in Lima, and had made his way to Cusco 6-7 years ago to help open high-end restaurants such as Limo (which I’ll share in another post). Years later, restaurants later, he was approached by David, a local investor, with the idea to open a Cooking School. It was perfect timing as he had been pondering thoughts of diversifying his craft, in which they started “Rooftop Kitchen Peru” – http://rooftopkitchenperu.com.
Angelo took us in a taxi to San Pedro Market, 12 minute drive from Plaza de Arnas (main plaza of Cusco) to introduce local crops such as potatoes, quinoa, corn, cheese tasting, nuts, meats and vegetables.
Afterwards, we drove to the suburbs to a building where they had rented approximately a 1000 sq ft rooftop unit as their cooking school, with a small bar set up, an outdoor patio with fresh herbs and a large window overlooking the city lights & sunset. David, the part-owner/Chef’s assistant welcomes us in to the modern-chic layout space. What a delightful surprise!
The tables were set up with about a dozen of stoves and we were lucky as it was just 2 of us students. The basic ingredients of salt, pepper, onions, butter were set up.
Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
We started the cooking lesson properly by learning the history of Pisco, a grape distilled beverage similar to Grapa, and learned how to make Peru’s most popular drink “Pisco Sour“.
3 oz Pisco
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Sugar Syrup
2 drops bitter
1 oz Egg White
Shake it for 30 seconds with lots of enthusiasm & energy. Pour & Enjoy!
The eggwhite Foam should rise to the top.
“Fish Tiradito” Recipe
With the Pisco Sour ready, we began learning our first dish, “Fish Tiradito“. A light seafood appetizer dish similar to Ceviche, resembling a Sashimi dish.
- Slicing fresh Trout in sushi slices on the plate
- Drizzled with fresh fennel leaves + red quinoa infused in olive oil/lime juice mix
- + Chopped turnips (very similar taste to beets) on the side
Our main dish was the Red Quinua Risotto w/ Mushrooms + Sauteed Prawns. What an interesting entree as I would not have come up with that had it not been for this class! A healthier alternative to the traditional Risotto made with Arborio rice.
As we cooked, we chatted with our free-spirited, fun Chef instructors on topics ranging from growing up in Peru to Tourism. We obviously shared a common love of cooking and traveling. We shared similar hobbies, favorite alcoholic beverages, best restaurants, traveling the world, visiting America, and so much more. Time flew, the sun set quickly and turned into a fun Soiree deep into the late evening, 3 bottles of Vino consumed (which in high altitude affects one a lot more, if you can imagine). We had the time of our lives with our new friends over good food, laughter, tasty drinks, intoxicating philosophical talks.
Thank you Kindred Spirits Angelo & David for the wonderful, unforgettable hospitality.. ..until next time! Salut.